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COVID-19 Variants: Here's How The Vaccines Still Protect You

Added 04-19-21 02:16:02pm EST - “The coronavirus shots don't just produce antibodies -- they also create T-cells. Here's what those are, and why they matter.” - Huffpost.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Huffpost.com: “The COVID-19 Vaccine Works Better Against Variants Than You Think”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

There are headlines claiming the variants are becoming deadlier, and stories warning that some variants could escape the vaccines, imprisoning us in a never-ending pandemic. With every step forward — like how millions of Americans are being vaccinated daily — it feels as though the variants send us two steps back.

A growing number of infectious disease experts are now saying the variant narrative has spiraled out of control. Yes, there are several variants circulating, and it’s true that some appear to be more transmissible. Yes, we need to continue wearing masks and protecting ourselves and others until we get closer to herd immunity. But there’s no definite evidence that any of the variants are more virulent, and there is currently no reason to think the variants will render our vaccines completely useless, infectious disease experts say.

Our immune systems are extremely complex, and even if some parts of the immune system don’t respond as robustly to the variants after vaccination, it’s not going to give up on us that easily.

Much of the research regarding immunity against COVID-19 (which can be achieved either through vaccination or natural infection) has looked at antibodies. These little fighters go after the coronavirus and prevent it from binding to cells in our body and creating an infection. Some lab studies have found that antibodies don’t do as good of a job fighting variants, which has raised fears that the vaccines might not be able to keep us safe.

But antibodies don’t tell the full story. When people say antibody levels dip ― and therefore protection against COVID-19 disappears ― “this is totally wrong,” said Jay Levy, a virologist and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

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